Hagel the Bull Moose?

Today the Washington Post has a front page (below the fold) story on Chuck Hagel’s possible Presidential ambitions (Hagel Ponders White House Run As War Criticism Raises His Profile – Wash. Post – 1/26/07). The story notes that Hagel has become a pariah in the Republican Party and garners about 1% in GOP primary polling. It then talks about a possibility of taking a “creative path” towards the Presidency:

“Hagel joked during the interview about teaming up with New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a moderate Republican, and also floated the possibility of joining a bipartisan unity ticket with a Democrat — with his name first, of course.”

We’re not so sure this “joking” won’t take on a life of its own. But it would really take a hurricane like change in American politics for a third party candidacy to have a realistic shot — though hurricanes, both meteorological and politically (see New Orleans and Minnesota) do happen.

In any case, our general view here on Leavenworth Street, as noted in a response to a comment yesterday, is that Hagel is not taking his anti-war position in order to fuel his run for the Presidency; he’s fueling his Presidency run so that he can keep the spotlight on the one true issue for which he has passion – the war in Iraq. (And see this Wall St. Journal Op-Ed by former Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan giving Hagel kudos for his anti-shoe salesman views.)

There’s no doubt that Hagel’s Vietnam experience has shaped his views on Iraq, and we find it very difficult to say that he is simply grandstanding. Now that’s not to say that he doesn’t like all the attention he’s getting (show me a single pol who wouldn’t like it). But if Hagel were simply to keep a Presidential pulpit in order to speak about the war, and in the end get clobbered in the voting booth, he’d still be happy.

**Update 11:30am**
We’d just note that in the 1/24/07 OWH article, Hagel said he’d announce his decision in “a couple of weeks”. In today’s Wash. Post, Hagel now says he’ll announce in the next SIX weeks…

17 comments

  1. Uncle Wiggily says:

    Sweeper:

    I nearly always find your take on matters political to be right on the money, but regarding Chuck “Nebraska? Where’s Nebraska?” Hagel, I would posit that you’re endowing him with sensibilities and a moral profundity that he really doesn’t possess (though I do agree that he understands his POTUS chances are considerably less than a popsicle’s in Hell).

    It seems to me that Chuckie is just in love with the sound of his own voice. His entire career is studded with instances of attracting attention to himself for no reason other than a rampant narcissism.

    I for one cannot wait for him to run headlong into a REAL Republican candidate – Bruning or Johanns come to mind.

    Keep the good stuff coming!

  2. mw says:

    Republicans better hope that Chuck Hagel runs for president and gets some traction in the party. As you point out, it is going to be tough road. The Republican right is now so out of step with the majority of Americans over the War in Iraq, that I cannot see how Republicans can nominate an electable candidate. Fortunately this ragged right is becoming marginalized (although over-represented in the blogosphere)and is now a small minority of the Republican party and and even smaller minority of American opinion overall.

    Chuck is prominently featured in my most recent YouTube effort “It’s the war, stupid.” and recent blog post of the same name.

    Chuck Hagel is a rock solid conservative in the Goldwater tradition. He is more conservative than McCain, Giuliani, Romney, and certainly more conservative than Bush. He has been on the right side of this war since 2002 and that makes him the only electable Republican in the field. It’ll be too bad if he can’t make it through the gauntlet of Republicans who have redefined being a Republican with a single litmus test of blind support of the President’s policies on Iraq. You don’t have to be a fiscal conservative to get their support. You don’t have to be a social conservative to get their support. You just have to put on your blinders and march lockstep on a flawed war strategy. If Republicans like these carry the day, it will be the end of the Republican Party as a relevant political force for a generation.

  3. Street Sweeper says:

    mw,
    I posted your comments which included links to your site. Since you’re new, I’ll let this slide. However, in general, this is a comments section and not somewhere to advertise your blog.
    -SS

  4. One Out In The Third says:

    SS…

    I have a 93 Dodge minivan…200K miles…everything works…308-384 ####. Can I list it here? What about a photo or two?

  5. Eric says:

    Don’t presidential primary candidates usually all get together and say “I’ll support the eventual nominee whoever it is”? I think it is hard for party loyalists to take you seriously if you’re reserving the right to run as an independent/not support the nominee. It’s a risky topic to joke about. Hagel always struck me as a party guy, but with these comments, it’ll almost have to be an independent run.

  6. Street Sweeper says:

    Assuming that you’re looking either for compliments or condolences, yes you may post that — but only as a Separated at Birth.

  7. One Out In The Third says:

    Back to the topic. As our good uncle states so eloquently. Chuckie Cheesecake can’t walk past a mirror and not be entralled with himself for at least two days.

    As far as being a Bull Moose on the national level? While the guy has displayed that he has the wind…he ain’t got the lead in his boots…or a frogs chance in a firestorm in winning the Presidency…whatever route he takes.

    I would almost wager Bruning can edge him out in the Nebraska Senate Primary. I believe there are enough Nebraskans fed up with Hagel to send Chickie back to Virginia. Of course every courthouse in the state would be abuzz with Dem’s signing up to become “Republicans for a Day” to assure Hagel’s re-election chances. Maybe Kate Witek can become Hagel’s Senate Campaign manager? There are so many possibilities.

    Anything with a close resemblance to “Bull Moosing” will likely happen in-state.

  8. OmaSteak says:

    If you look at how Hagel is now trying to parse the language of the Iraq war resolution that he indeed voted for prior to the start of the war (see GQ article link in previous post), it is apparent that the Virginian is going to make a presidential bid. I seriously doubt it makes any real difference to Hagel if it is as a Republican, Democrat or Independent, just as long as he continues to attract media attention. We can only hope that in the interim that the new strategy in Iraq produces some measurable success and that the success gets reported (no small wish there). The Virginian is betting his political future, such as it is, on defeat in Iraq to which he is busily contributing in no small fashion. I wonder if any part of his days are spent working on behalf of our state in real terms…like Nelson pressuring South Korean government to reopen their markets to US beef, secure recovery funds for repairing ice storm damage, etc.

  9. Anonymous says:

    It is interesting that Hagel keeps extending the timetable for making his announcement. He was telling people here in the state back in December that he would be announcing his decision in a couple of weeks. Now he is talking within 6 weeks from now in one of these most recent article.

    The uncertainty of what he wants to do along with his attacks on Bush keep him a media darling and allow him to keep getting attention. Once his decision is made public all he has left is his attacks on Bush. If he isn’t running for President some of the luster goes out of his war on Bush/Cheney. If he is running as a Republican, his 1% standing in the polls makes him less attractive to the media. I look for him to stretch it out as long as he can.

    It is discomforting to see people like Peggy Noonan starting to fall for his propganda efforts. Hagel may be sincere in his opposition to the war, but that doesn’t make him right or justify leading the Democrats anti-Bush campaign.

    There have been a lot of mistakes made by the Bush administration with Iraq from a conservative view point. The problem with Hagel is that he is perfectly willing to use the language and tactics of the far left and isn’t not providing convservative solutions to the problem.

    Contrast that to say Newt Gingrich and Rudy Guiliani who offer alternatives to the current administration policy while still showing some support and loyalty to the President. I”ve yet to here Hagel provide any solution that doesn’t lead to chaos in the region that wouldn’t damage the national interest.

    It seems to me that Hagel’s verbal attacks on Bush/Cheney go beyond Iraqi policy. Could it be Bush choosing Cheney instead of Hagel to be VP?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hagel has been on the DC scene since the early years of the Reagan Administration, when he was No. 2 at the Dept. of Vets’ Affairs. His contempt for Cheney, Rumsfeld, et. al. is as personal and longstanding as it is real. No phoney politics on that front.

    D.C. Insider
    Originally from Ashland, NE

  11. reagan republican says:

    actually, Hagel has been on the DC scene since the John Y McCollister days, where Hagel served as his chief of staff.

  12. mw says:

    ss –
    Noted. Sorry about the faux paux and thanks for the leeway. The point was in the content and the content linked – not the links themselves.

    3rd out –
    I guess I can see a reason for linking to a Hagel candidacy relevant post in a comment to a post about Hagel candidacy. But apparently you think Hagel is like a Dodge minivan. Don’t see the comparison myself, but you clearly have more imagination than me. But if I squint my eyes – I’d say Hagel is much more like a combat ready Humvee. but thats just me.

    No matter. Sweepers blog, sweepers rules. Its all good, won’t happen again.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hagel is a Volkswagen van from the 70’s with flowers painted on the sides in wild colors.

    IF that isn’t big enough to fit his head in maybe he needs to go with the old yellow school bus with the same paint job as the VW.

  14. Street Sweeper says:

    I believe if we then stretch that analogy, in the school bus, that would make Hagel either Danny or Keith Partridge. The greater political question then would be: Who is his Reuben Kincaid?

    Or maybe we should just blow this thread up…

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